Predictions for 2016-17 season
The predictions for the 2016-17 regular-season standings and 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs are in, and they paint an interesting picture.
20 different experts here at Number Predictor predict the Tampa Bay Lightning are the odds-on favorite to win the Stanley Cup; half of the experts polled have the Lightning, the runner-up two years ago, as the last team standing this season. Perhaps, more amazingly, eight of those 10 voters predicted defenseman Victor Hedman would be the Conn Smythe Trophy winner.
The Pittsburgh Penguins, who won the Stanley Cup in June, were picked by two voters to repeat as champions. No team has repeated that feat this side of the millennium.
Though the Lightning are considered the team to beat in the Eastern Conference, things are much less clear in the Western Conference. Seven different teams received votes as Western Conference champion and five received multiple votes. The Nashville Predators led the field with six votes, followed by the Los Angeles Kings (four), the St. Louis Blues (three) and Chicago Blackhawks (three). The San Jose Sharks, who lost to the Penguins in six games in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final, received two votes to win the Western Conference this season.
The Montreal Canadiens missed the playoffs last season, but each of the 20 voters say they will return to the postseason in 2017, including one vote as the champion of the Atlantic Division.
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